San Antonio-based Transcend Hospice has developed a hospice incubator model for hospices that is focused on developing quick and efficient ways to get new agencies up and running.
Currently operating in Texas and Illinois, Transcend markets its franchising model as “hospice in a box.” The company obtains the necessary licensing, accreditation, Medicare certification and contracts and other functions necessary to open a new hospice agency. When the agency is close to ready to admit patients and bill Medicare, Transcend sells the location to a franchisee.
Agencies developed by Transcend report margins as much as three times the national average, according to co-founder Lisa Acosta.
“We have mastered the process of licensed startup. We have the incubator to create agencies available for franchise owners to buy, and then we help them deliver great patient care, Acosta said. “It’s really a win-win. We have scalability, and we have a staffing matrix in place, and pretty sophisticated reporting. I usually say that we basically have put the bumpers on the rails to keep agencies on track, like in bowling.”
Transcend’s franchisees often are companies that provide health care or other services to aging adults that wish to add hospice to their service lines, including physicians, home health care companies, assisted living or nursing home organizations. These tend to be organizations that already have a patient population and a pool of referrals.
Transcend supports franchisees by managing many of the back office functions such as marketing, human resources, quality assurance activities, and regulatory compliance. The company is planning to expand its franchising operations nationwide, but they will begin by concentrating on non-certificate of need states.
“We worked to wrap everything wrapped up into a single model, so our agencies that we help open up and sell can focus on what they need to do, which is deliver great patient care and grow a census. That’s what we’ve turned into the franchise model,” Acosta told Hospice News. “It differs from state to state, but the process to license an agency and get it ready to bill can be anywhere from 12 to 18 months. It’s not uncommon for people to make a mistake on the application or forget to submit a document, delaying the process. We take care of all that work, getting our agencies to the head of the line, ready to admit patients.”